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William H. Berge Oral History Center Coal Company Towns Project Interview with George Fugate April 5, 1983 (1983 oh 039) Conducted by William Berge Transcribed by Laurie Wilcox

WILLIAM BERGE: The following is an unrehearsed taped interview with Mr. George Fugate of Lexington, Kentucky. The interview was conducted in Irvin, Kentucky on April 5, 1983 at 9pm. The interview is conducted in a workshop for the Estill County Historical society at the Estill County library. The interview is conducted by William Berge for the Oral History Center at Eastern Kentucky University.


BERGE: ....Fugate, I want to thank you for coming over her to Estill County tonight to let us talk with you. It's a pleasure to have met you. Let's start off by doing the same as we did with Mr. Goosey. You tell me your name and where you were born and when, that type thing.

GEORGE FUGATE: I'm George W. Fugate. I was born on Thornton Creek in Letcher County Kentucky. I was born right across the creek from Bennet Adams not far from the same time and people that know Bennet Adams was an old regular Baptist preacher and we grew up to, in our childhood days together.

BERGE: What year was that?

FUGATE: I was born in 1893 and I believe that maybe I was just a little older. He, he may have been born in 94. I'm not sure, but there's a little difference in our age maybe five or six months.

BERGE: Um hm and you said your name is Fugate.

FUGATE: Fugate. Well I called Fugate when I'm just with ordinary people but when I get with high society I call it Fugate. [Laughter-audience]

BERGE: That's the reason I asked you I never knew what to call you Fugates or Fugates, you know. [Laughter-audience]

FUGATE: Well. [Laughter-Fugate and audience]

BERGE: And Lord knows there's a world of you. How did you all get in Kentucky?

FUGATE: Three brothers came on through Pine Gap in the early days and ah, there were building a salt works in Whitesburg, Kentucky. And one of these brothers was a carpenter, his name was Elbert Fugate. And ah, the other two came on down the river and I don't know whether they couldn't write, anyway apparently they didn't communicate with each other. But when the L&M built all into McRoberts and coming back and forth we found these different. They found them in Perry County when we came down to Brethitt County, here's another bunch of them, and we think that they overall came-with those [unclear] people.

BERGE: Now you're, you're a descendent of Elmer is that right?

FUGATE: Elbert, E-L-B-E-R-T.

BERGE: Elbert, E-L-B-E-R-T.


BERGE: Now what was he to you now?

FUGATE: He was my grandfather Fugate.

BERGE: Okay. Now how many children did he have?

FUGATE: Well let's see now he had. I believe he had two daughters and three sons, as I remember. Now I'm not so sure.

BERGE: Now of those three sons one of them is your father?

FUGATE: Right his name is John.

BERGE: And was he the oldest middle or youngest do you know?

FUGATE: I rather think maybe he was the middle.

BERGE: Do you know his two brothers names?

FUGATE: One of them's named Eric and one was named Bill. And I think Bill died possible as a young boy.

BERGE: Now did they stay in Letcher County?


BERGE: Okay.

FUGATE: No, Eric went to Harlan County and one time they were having an election over there and two different factions got to shooting each other and he happened to get in the line of fire. He wasn't supposed to be involved in to but he was shot in the neck with a-and died a few days later.

BERGE: But it was just a normal Harlan County?

FUGATE: Oh yeah just an ordinary thing in Harlan. [Laughter-audience]

BERGE: Do you remember now, you were up in the c-you were up in the coal company let me just ask you one question before we just get back to your family. I did a lot of interviews not too long ago in ah Bell County and Harlan County and some of those people told me that sometimes the union elections were even more important than the ah, political elections, is that right?

FUGATE: No ah, of course when, when John L. Lewis came in and organized the coal fields everybody became Democrats, except me I think. [Laughs] And ah,

BERGE: They, it would be bad to be a Republican and an Fugate wouldn't it? [Laughter-Berge and audience]

FUGATE: And they were, they took the union in pretty serious and they also took their politics, their democratic politics, lot of them were republicans before but Franklin D. and John L. changed them.

BERGE: Alright so your father was raised in Letcher County?


BERGE: Alright where was your mother raised?

FUGATE: She was raised in Letcher County, Kentucky. In fact she was raised on Thornton Creek. Where.

BERGE: Where you were born?

FUGATE: Where I was born yeah.

BERGE: What was her maiden name?

FUGATE: Jenkins.

BERGE: And what was her family, what did her family do?

FUGATE: Ah, they were farmers and millers. They had water mills.

BERGE: Now you said that your grandfather that first one in Letcher County area was a carpenter?


BERGE: Did your father follow him into carpentry?

FUGATE: He was supposed to have been one of the best carpenters that ever picked up a hammer and a saw.

BERGE: Who is that your grandfather?

FUGATE: My father.

BERGE: Your father?

FUGATE: And I can't drive a nail. [Laughter-audience]

BERGE: Well when he ah, when you were a boy was he a carpenter then?


BERGE: Um hm. What'd he, what, what did he build houses or?

FUGATE: He built houses, he built cabinets. He was an excellent cabinet maker.

BERGE: Uh huh.

FUGATE: In fact he made have a piece of a furniture that took a gold prize in Saint Louis World's fair. And I don't know what ever happened to it.

BERGE: What was the furniture, do you remember?

FUGATE: No I don't know. He made it for somebody in Frankfort.

BERGE: Uh huh. Where was his, did he have a business?

FUGATE: No no and ah, ah, and I'm sorry to say that my mother died when I was six years old and my father wasn't responsible for the family. And there was three of us children and our grandparents took us over.

BERGE: Which grandparents?

FUGATE: The Jenkins, my mothers.

BERGE: So you were raised by your maternal grandparents?

FUGATE: Right.

BERGE: Okay and what was their, what were their names?

FUGATE: Jenkins.

BERGE: No the first, what was his first name?


BERGE: Your grandfather?

FUGATE: Arch. And I heard the name here tonight and I wondered how the name came about. Every time I hear the word Arch I always want to know it. It goes back into the Corns and the Crafts in Letcher County and Perry County. That name Arch.

BERGE: So what did your grandfather do then?

FUGATE: My grandfather Jenkins? He was a farmer.

BERGE: In there in Letcher County?

FUGATE: Right.

BERGE: What part of the County?

FUGATE: He lived on Thornton Creek and he had about two miles of Thornton Creek on both sides.

BERGE: Was that a big family?

FUGATE: Yes he had ten, ten little children five boys and five girls.

BERGE: So you were ah six years old you said when you went to?

FUGATE: When my mother died yes.

BERGE: What did you do about education?

FUGATE: Well I went to grade school; there wasn't a high school in the county when I grew up, but I went to grade school and I worked some on the railroad section and got a little money and came to a normal school.

BERGE: In Richmond

FUGATE: In Richmond, a couple of years.

BERGE: How old were you when you came there?

FUGATE: I was about 19, 18 or 19.

BERGE: So you, after you went to grade school you you worked around the railroad?


BERGE: What did you do on the railroads on in those early days?

FUGATE: Well I told somebody here tonight I tamped under every tire from Blaket to McRoberts [laughter-Berge] on track and then I, I, they put me to [unclear] an engine till. These engines had a check valve and you had to know how to work with them. And I got one stuck one night and wake the engineer up about 3 o'clock [laughing] and so I quite that job. And when I went to Fleming I got a job in the office. With people.

BERGE: Uh hm.

FUGATE: With an agent that I knew.

BERGE: But the railroad office?

FUGATE: For the railroad office.

BERGE: Now I do know you worked for Consolidated Coal.

FUGATE: Right.

BERGE: Ah, how old were you when you went with Consol?

FUGATE: I guess I was about 25. No, no I. When I went to Jenkins right after World War I, I went to Jenkins and I first worked in the mines. And and a vacancy came in the railroad that was that required the same work that I did for the L&M at Fleming and they hired me there and I worked for them seven years. I sold ticket and handled baggage and express, and got to be sort of an expert in studding passenger's tags. I knew how the railroads all connected over the country. And ah, a fellow that work the coal company quit and they wanted somebody that had this knowledge and they asked me to come. So I left the railroad and went back to the coal company.

BERGE: So in shipping I guess you went into shipping?


BERGE: Back in those days when you were working for Colsol in shipping, how much coal were they taking out of there in Jenkins then?

FUGATE: Around twelve thousand tons a month I guess. Ah, some-something about right around ten or twelve thousand a month.

BERGE: Now we're talking about in the early 20s I guess, or the mid-twenties?

FUGATE: Yeah right. Yeah.

BERGE: Alright now that coal, that was that was a lot of coal?


BERGE: Where were they selling that?

FUGATE: Well they sold a good deal of it to people in the north, particularly Michigan, Indiana and Ohio.

BERGE: What kind of people were buying it up there do you know?

FUGATE: Coal dealers mostly and some utilities.

BERGE: Okay.

FUGATE: But a lot of the coal went to the Atlantic Seaboard, the Newport News to be exported. You-to be shipped up and down the coast, maybe in New England or abroad. Some of it went to England some of it to Italy.

BERGE: I've never ah, I've talked to a lot of people in the coal business but I've never talked to anyone before who had a job quite like yours so let me just ask you some things for my own information. In your office when the coal would get ready to ship what would come to you, I mean?

FUGATE: Well I would get orders from the sales department we had. Like Cincinnati had a sales office Cleveland, Chicago, ah, Richmond Virginia. Different places and they would send the orders for these different size coal. An at that time we were making t-27 different sizes of coal.

BERGE: And it was being made in Jenkins?

FUGATE: It was being made in the McRoberts side the Jenkins side and we also handles the Elkhorn Coal Company's Coal. At Wheelwright, Garrett, Whalen, and ah Fleming and Hempfield. And at one time we handled southeast.

BERGE: Now in your office when you got orders for coal did they actually tell you like how to ship it and where to ship it or did you make those decisions?

FUGATE: They'd take a kind of equipment, either a flat bottom [unclear] or a two door hopper or a 7 ton hopper and they would specify what size to be put in the coal and my job was to get these different size cars under the tipple, loaded with the kind of coal that these orders specified. And of course I had to keep in mind four or five days in advance, you couldn't keep it on paper, I mean you just sort of had to glance through what your orders were and and and estimate just about what you were going to have to do.

BERGE: So it's kind of a coincidence that we'd be sitting here in Estill County today because I'm sure you shipped a lot of coal through here.

FUGATE: I bet you couldn't get it all in the holler that I shipped through Ravenna.

BERGE: Yeah.

FUGATE: Because, because all the coal from Fleming, from south east and from ah Elkhorn Coal came through here.

BERGE: Did you all ship any timber out from there at the same time or were you just shipping coal?

FUGATE: No but there was some coal being, some timber being shipped by and it was some timber that consolidated coal company had sold to some firm and they was processing the timber and shipping.

BERGE: Um hm.

FUGATE: Most of it was going to England at that time.

BERGE: Is that right?

FUGATE: Fine white oak timber.

BERGE: Were you shipping it through Virginia?

FUGATE: Uh, well that was handled by this firm that got it but I'm sure

BERGE: Oh you didn't handle it.

FUGATE: But I'm sure it was shipped down to Newport News and exported.

BERGE: I wonder why you didn't ship it?

FUGATE: Well that was, I mean. That was a different deal. I mean they had sold this timber to some firm and of course then after they sold the timber [unclear] sold the stumps.

BERGE: In other words they weren't viewing it actually marketing timber.

FUGATE: No they, they, they didn't have anything to do with it then no.

BERGE: But were they harvesting the timber?

FUGATE: No. I mean this company that they sold the timber to.

BERGE: Okay that's what I was asking.

FUGATE: Right yeah.

BERGE: Okay some of the coal companies in Kentucky, you know you can correct me, isn't it true that some of them actually did their own timbering but some of them would lease it all out and not touch it themselves.

FUGATE: Yeah right yeah.

BERGE: I wonder why they didn't. Was it just not profitable enough or?

FUGATE: Well ah, I just don't know that was probably handled in, in, maybe the New York office or the Fairmount office. And that, we had enough to do to try move the coal. And so they didn't interfere with us.

BERGE: But all the timber, let me just ask you one more thing about timber. Did all the timber that was shipped out of that Jenkins McRoberts area though, even you all didn't do it was that shipped by rail?

FUGATE: Yeah. You mean at the time I'm speaking of yeah it was shipped by rail. Um hm.

BERGE: Did you have to compete with this people for ah for carriers or was there, were there were there enough trains for everything.

FUGATE: Ah-we-we would occasionally run into a car shortage, yes. Once in a while you'd have a something maybe would happen um, maybe you'd have too many cars tied up down at Newport news and and hadn't made connection with the ships to unload and and maybe delay it so sometimes we'd have a car shortage. Not very often particularly on the C&O. But on the L&M we had, we had more trouble with cars shortages because it was more difficult to get trains into [unclear].

BERGE: Alright so you were a young man when you went to ah, Jenkins to live then?

FUGATE: Just r-just after world war one.

BERGE: So you'd be in your early twenties.

FUGATE: Yes about 22 I think.

BERGE: Is that the first time you ever lived in a company owned town.


BERGE: You know a lot of people have preconceived notions about company towns in one way or another. And every notion is right somewhere because....


BERGE: There, they were relatively uneven. But lets say we were strangers to this type of life all of us in here and we were really curious as to what it was like to live in a company town. If I just asked you that question unadorned no specifics, how would you react to it?

FUGATE: It was very enjoyable for us, ah, in fact maybe the job I had put me in a, a fairly good housing area really. When when consolidation came into Jenkins they built the houses out of the forest that was there. They, they cut the timber and there was enough big sandstones, they stripped the sandstones for the basements. And they built real good housing for all the white employees.

BERGE: Um hm.

FUGATE: Then for the we called them [hunks] cause some of them were Austrian some of them were German, some of them were Italians, but they had another section for them. Then they had two black communities. And we, the poorest housing was built for them. In the most out of the way places.

BERGE: So....

FUGATE: But in, in the, for the whites there was a certain type of house in a certain area for the bosses. Then the next people down there was another area and a type house for them. And I used to have friends come over from Whitesburg, which was pretty hard to get there. You can get from here to Paris, France easier than you can get from Whitesburg to Jenkins. [Laughter-audience] And ah, and I ought to point out how the how.


FUGATE: [laughing] how the company had the had made these different strata's for the population and they were used to maybe a poor man on each side of them and they were maybe fairly of wealthy. And they had a good house but these other people just lived in shacks. And they couldn't conceive that anybody wouldn't want to have, have a thing like that. [Laughing]

BERGE: You could almost tell then of what ethnic origin somebody was what kind of position they had in the company by where they lived couldn't you?

FUGATE: Right.

BERGE: But let's talk about the worst housing in Jenkins. How would that compare to housing say, well in Whitesburg when you were a boy?

FUGATE: Well I'd say even the worst houses The Company built compared very favorably to the best houses in [laughing] in Whitesburg at the time. Yeah.

BERGE: How about utilities like electric and that type of stiff?


BERGE: What would be the comparison there?

FUGATE: Uh, I, I don't remember but I think we paid a dollar and a quarter a month for lights and I think maybe paid $1.75 for doctor and hospital.

BERGE: That came out of your?

FUGATE: That came out of your pay yeah. And ah, and they also made a deduction for school until the union came in,

BERGE: Um hm.

FUGATE: They deducted 50 cents uh, pay date from salary and [unclear] employees, not the salary employees but the laborers they only collected $.25 I believe it was.

BERGE: For schools?

FUGATE: And we had better schools than, in fact we would send down to in the bluegrass and get teachers that were excellent. But now the teachers down in Bluegrass is coming out of that region.

BERGE: Um hm. Yeah it was, I think at one time I think it was either Lynch or Benham was the third highest paid school system.

FUGATE: Yeah, right.

BERGE: In the state of Kentucky. Or something like that.

FUGATE: Right yeah, yeah, um hm. And and when United States Steel built, built Lynch they built so that a black , a white and a foreigner would all live right in the same. And, and we thought that the company ought to be run out. [laughing]

BERGE: [laughter]

FUGATE: [laughing] We didn't, we didn't think that ought to be allowed. But they were that much ahead of times I guess.

BERGE: Except that they did build two schools and.

FUGATE: Right, right they had good schools and good teachers.

BERGE: Do you have ah any notion as to how much rent you paid when you first went there?

FUGATE: Ah, I don't think it was over $12 a month, in the house I was living in at the time, which I probably graduated up a little bit. But ah, I guess the house I finally lived in was around $25 a month.

BERGE: Um hm. Where was that?

FUGATE: That was in, it was a real good house.

BERGE: What year was that the last you lived there?

FUGATE: That was about 19 and, I guess I moved into an elite section of town, oh about 1948.

BERGE: What did they call that section of town?

FUGATE: They called it Lakeside.

BERGE: Lakeside.

FUGATE: Because it was the housing for the elite was around that lake that they built to furnish power.

BERGE: You know quite often they'd call it silk stocking row in some of these places.

FUGATE: Well yes but.

BERGE: [unclear].

FUGATE: we just called it Lakeside, and at the theater they had a, the company had built a theater and a recreation building they called it. And in this theater there were certain sections of it for the Lakeside people and the other people didn't get over in that section. [Laughing] That was an exclusive section for them and they stayed in there and the rest of us got over in.

BERGE: You mentioned something that I had really not thought about just until you mentioned it but you mentioned the theater, did Jenkins have, I'm sure they did but, what type of cultural activities did they have in the city or in the town when you were there?

FUGATE: Well they had this recreation building, they had pool tables they had a soda fountain, they had a place to buy cigarettes and things of that nature, magazines, and ah.

BERGE: Did they ever have plays or music?

FUGATE: Ah, ah, and the company sponsored some good baseball teams.

BERGE: Very common in.

FUGATE: Yeah that was, in order, it helped moral of the community. Because they didn't pay us much we could go to the ball park and have a lot of fun, we didn't have to have it.

BERGE: Those men who played on that ball team, were they all local people?

FUGATE: No. No we imported the players from Cincinnati or where ever. Got some from down there at Lexington and some different, in fact I think we had some players that that came off this bluegrass team that.

BERGE: The Bluegrass League?

FUGATE: [unclear] from Richmond.

BERGE: Earl.

FUGATE: Earl Combs played on it.

BERGE: So there were in fact there were a lot of a.

FUGATE: They were good yeah.

BERGE: Super athletes?

FUGATE: Right yeah. And the company gave them supposed to be jobs but most of the time they'd just go up somewhere and sit down and play you know and tell big tales and tell about how they played down in Charleston South Carolina [laughing] and how they played in sandlots in Cincinnati.

BERGE: So they were sort of make jobs?

FUGATE: Right, yeah right.

BERGE: They weren't real jobs?

FUGATE: No. And then, everybody I mean, nobody took exception to it because we, we was glad to have them.

BERGE: Very proud of them.

FUGATE: Oh yeah.

BERGE: Um hm

FUGATE: And it and it added a lot of I guess to the moral of the community too.

BERGE: Do you ever remember a Chautauqua?

FUGATE: Ah, we didn't have Chautauqua's. I have been told that Carnegie, when the company got ready to build the town that Carnegie said "I'll build you a nice library there." And they said we don't want it. They said miners got no business with books. Now I, I don't know whether that's true but, but I have. It was rumored that was taken place.

BERGE: Now, it's conceivable that somebody who owned a coal company wouldn't want miner reading too much [laughter-Berge and Fugate] I think. But you know I think sometimes around this part of the state there's a great deal of pride for certain towns about the kind of Chautauqua they had and-


BERGE: And I was wondering if you [unclear].

FUGATE: No we never did have a Chautauqua there. Uh, I guess we just wasn't up to that kind.

BERGE: Well that changes the question because I was going to ask you another question about it. And ah we'll let that go. No you saw a lot of changes in your time in Eastern Kentucky and particularly in the coal mining industry I'm sure.


BERGE: Ah, I'm sort of jumping around more than I normally would because we, we do have a shortage of time. But what would you say were the biggest changes in eastern Kentucky in your, in, in those years you worked for Consol. Let's say from oh let's say 1920 to 1950.

FUGATE: Well, I think the biggest change was when the mine machines were invented then and displaced people. We'd have one mine machine that would displace say twenty-five, thirty people and they had to go to Dayton, Ohio or to Detroit, Michigan or Charlestown, Indiana, they had Cincinnati, Louisville, Lexington. They had to go somewhere else for jobs, I mean, at one time they had thirty-five hundred people on the payroll . . .

BERGE: Jenkins?

FUGATE: Yes and, and, and when the mine machines, when they got all the mines . . . supplied with mining machines you only had about eight or nine hundred people on the payroll.

BERGE: [unclear].

FUGATE: Cause you're still getting just as much or maybe a little more.

BERGE: Yeah, um hum. Could you see and could you sense changes in the way people, I'm not talking about the way they made a living or anything but they way they felt about the community and the way they felt about themselves and could you, was there any discernable difference in the way people acted, for instance?

FUGATE: Well, uh . . .

BERGE: Because of this.

FUGATE: When I first went to Jenkins, everybody liked Consolidation Coal Company.

BERGE: It was very popular.

FUGATE: And, and if somebody, a stranger, would come in and say something bad about the company chances are some miner would just up and, and hit him. And after they were organized, just the reverse is true. If somebody said something good about the company somebody's probably hit him. It just completely changed the attitude of. .

BERGE: Was it quick to change?

FUGATE: It was fairly quick, yes.

BERGE: How do you account for that?

FUGATE: Well . . .

BERGE: Do you think it was the union or do you think it was just times . . .

FUGATE: Well, it probably was, it, partly the union, partly the economy. And, and maybe partly the way people were thinking about labor relations and so forth. I don't know it's but, but I saw that, I saw that and it was very definite to me how it at one time people was so very fond of the company and, and, and then they changed to a time where they, it looked like everybody hated the company.

BERGE: Um hm. And it happened very quickly . . .

FUGATE: Yes . . .

BERGE: And all of a sudden it's there.

FUGATE: Right. Um hm.

BERGE: Do you ah, remember your ah . . . would your relationships change with your bosses during that time? Did you sense anything? I know you weren't, you weren't a union man cause you weren't in the mines and . . .


BERGE: Your job was different but still could you see any difference in the management?

FUGATE: Uh, I saw a difference, yeah, the, before the union the bosses seemed to be concerned about people. They, apparently, they, they were pretty concerned. They were, if they had sickness in the family, they, they, they gave all kinds of concessions. They gave them credit in the store and so forth. But after the union came in, they says, Oh that's good, you're on your own now. Better look, look to your union people, oh we're not going to, no we ain't.

BERGE: That's kind of an interesting observation in a sense that these attitudes that, these change in attitudes were not only changes in attitudes on the part of the people who were work, were miners but there was a change in attitude about the miners on the part of their bosses as well.

FUGATE: Right, yeah, yeah. And it was very noticeable, that is somebody that would, would have a knack of observing things like that.

BERGE: Um hm. Did ah, when you lived there, did you ah, ever have any ah, opportunity to witness any labor violence?

FUGATE: No, I had a opportunity to see very long strikes but, but no violence, no, no, no fighting, no, no shooting or anything like that.

BERGE: You had nothing to . . .

FUGATE: Not like in Harlan County.

BERGE: You had nothing like the Battle of Crummies or . . .

FUGATE: No, we didn't have any of that.

BERGE: Benham, or anything like that?

FUGATE: No, no.

BERGE: Wonder why?

FUGATE: That, we had people, I had friends that went over to try to help straighten that thing out in Harlan County and they went to one company and the machine guns were set up.

BERGE: Um hm.

FUGATE: And some of the . . .

BERGE: It was Crummies wasn't it?

FUGATE: And some of the men, yeah, some of the men says, they won't shoot, let's just go in there. And, and a friend of mine had just come out of the Marines at [unclear] and he's says you fellows can go if you want to but says I've had those things spitting at me before and I'm not going to take a chance on it. And, and that kept them from going. I mean, when he said that, he was the more or less leader in that crew.

BERGE: Wonder why Consol didn't have the trouble in Jenkins that some of these other companies had in Harlan County?

FUGATE: I think maybe that we had a higher grade of personnel. [Laughter]

BERGE: On both sides, you think?

FUGATE: Yeah [laughter], in labor and management. Well, I wouldn't want to say it in that way because United States Steel had fine people in there, they had, their leaders, they had fine leaders.

BERGE: You think the conditions were different, maybe?

FUGATE: Uh, I, I'm not familiar with the Lynch mines. It may be the mining conditions was better with us. I rather think maybe they were.

BERGE: In, let, let me just ask you, we just have a couple of seconds left, of this. Let me just ask you some other questions. This is probably confusing for the people here but I'm asking him some questions which are related to some other research I'm doing and . . .

FUGATE: Uh huh.

BERGE: Give me some ideas about, this happens to you sometimes but did you this much transfer of personnel from Consol mines like the ones at Van Leer and at Jenkins and or, or did those people pretty well stay in the jobs where they always were?

FUGATE: They didn't stay until they, that's one thing the union did, it tied people to the jobs. Before then people quit one mine in Jenkins and go down to another mine and get a job. And all that had to stop, I mean they couldn't . . . they quit that or we people that would go, they work in Jenkins then they'd go up in Logan, West Virginia and work in the West Virginia mine.

BERGE: Lot of West Virginia miners?

FUGATE: Yeah and they went back and forth and the miners in Jenkins, Kentucky, most of them had worked in some mine in West Virginia and vice versa.

BERGE: Do you know where the blacks in Jenkins came from?

FUGATE: I think most of them came out of the South possibly around . . .

BERGE: Alabama?

FUGATE: Georgia and Alabama, mostly around, I think, Birmingham.

BERGE: A lot of Birmingham blacks came up into Southeastern Kentucky.

FUGATE: And a lot of them . . . they, they'd find, they would get, of course the company at one time ruled with an iron hand, you probably know that, they had something sort of like a, I mean, if somebody didn't do right, the way the company saw it, they says, get your goods and get out of here and don't come back.

BERGE: Um hm. Do you . . .

FUGATE: And that way they, they eliminated a whole lot of, of, of bad labor, I mean and then the people that could, could survive, they were, they were a fine class of people.

BERGE: Do you remember ah, when blacks were coming there or where the by the time you got there were the blacks sort of home grown or were they importing blacks at that time?

FUGATE: They were importing blacks.

BERGE: Do you remember how they came on the train? FUGATE: Yeah, they would come in either come to McRoberts out of this part of the country or come to Jenkins off the C&O in the Baltimore [unclear] and one year they imported a lot of labor [recording stops].


BERGE: [unclear] a few times. I met a young man from Brown University not to long ago who was studying blacks in Baltimore area and he asked me if I knew many blacks from Jenkins, Kentucky cause evidently there was a migration of blacks . . .

FUGATE: Um huh, yeah . . .

BERGE: Back and forth from between Jenkins and Baltimore. Do you know why that was?

FUGATE: It might have been after Bethlehem bought the mines because Bethlehem had a big plant in Baltimore . . .


FUGATE: And it's possible that some of them did go there and for that reason. I'm not so sure because I was; I was getting ready to wind up and getting ready for retirement . . .

BERGE: Mr. Fugate, I want to thank you and I didn't even begin to start talking with you and I'd like to do the same thing with you that Mr. Goosey said I could do is talk with you again some time.

FUGATE: Any time.

BERGE: Now let me talk to